Digital Democracy Project: Research Memo #4 Talking Past Each Other on Immigration

The fourth memo has been released.

Since the Digital Democracy Project began surveying Canadians earlier this summer, immigration has consistently ranked around the middle of the list of political issues of concern to the public. Canada has a long history of embracing immigrants and refugees, but with rising populist and nativist sentiment in the United States and Europe—and the emergence of the People’s Party of Canada at home—politicians and analysts have been watching closely to see if immigration is becoming a consequential election issue.

The short answer is that it is starting to, though not in the strictly polarizing manner that is usually feared. The good news is that Canadians across the political spectrum have somewhat complex and nuanced views on immigration, and that these views can be influenced by relevant information (such as the correct number of immigrants being admitted into the country.)

The bad news, perhaps, is that because the politics of immigration is so multi-dimensional, it means much of the public debate around it tends to be at cross purposes.